How To Play Yahtzee: Score Cards and Rules

Check out These Yahtzee Instructions

Playing yahtzee

The Yahtzee dice game is a great game of chance, but also of smart thinking, and planning ahead. Yahtzee is very easy to learn, and can be played by almost anyone of any age. In order to play this game, you will need a set of dice, and a copy of the different value sheets. Here's how to get started:

  1. To begin the game, read the instructions. Determine your turn order, and let the first person roll the dice. After each turn, pass your dice along to the next person in a clockwise rotation. Remember that play only lasts for 13 rounds before the game ends and scores are tallied.
  2. During your turn, you must roll all five dice. Based on what appears, you have multiple options and ways to score points. You are allowed to make up to three rolls in a single turn. When you decide to make another roll, you can roll whatever dice you want; it could be one or all five. Remember that if you choose not to roll a die, it stays as is, and when you've used all three rolls in a turn, the dice values remaining are final.
  3. In order to assign the scores, you have to decide which pot to add your score to. Each pot has a different way of adding the dice. For example, 6's means you get six points for every six. All of Yahtzee's other special pot values give you the amount of dice that you rolled, as long as the condition is met. The only pot that is not calculated by adding the dice involved is Yahtzee!, which is five of a kind and is always worth 50 points.
  4. The game's score cards are divided into upper and lower point values.
    • The upper column on the score card features all of these number values. Points for each pot are determined by how many of that particular number you received and are multiplied by that value. So three 1's would give you a score of 3. Three 6's would work out to 18 points (6x3). If a player manages to score 63 points or higher on the upper score card, she will receive a bonus of 35 points!
    • The bottom portion of the score card is played as the different pots indicate. In order to score any points, you must complete the requirement. Three of a kind may be scored only if the dice show three of a kind. Four of a kind means you must have rolled four of the same number. A full house means a three of a kind and a separate pair. Straights are sequences of consecutive numbers, small straights being four numbers and large straights being five. The chance box lets you score when you have a mishmash of numbers, and Yahtzee! (the hardest box to get) is 5 of a kind.
  5. The skill of Yahtzee, however, is that players must pick a column to just add zero points if they cannot get points from anything during a roll. For example: if you rolled three ones, but the only pot you hadn't used yet was four of a kind, you would have to accept zero for the pot. All pots can only be used once, and since the game runs for 13 rounds they must all be used. It is very important in the game to be constantly thinking ahead. You can score big points for some of the more difficult pots, so it is advantageous to leave things like your ones column until the very end when it is worthless.
  6. It is important to not leave yourself in a position that makes you have zero points for multiple pots. Target the more difficult pots early on to win at Yahtzee. Leave pots like 1's and 2's, which can never be worth many points, until the very end. This will ensure that if you do have to add a zero to a pot, it is not one that could potentially have been worth many points. If you roll four 6's, go straight for four of a kind before you go for 6's. Your number pots in Yahtzee should be the last ones you use.
  7. Once all 13 rounds have been played, each player must tally the value she has added to each individual pot, and compare her total to every other player. The person with the highest score wins the game. Rolling five of a kind is hard but exciting, be sure to scream out "Yahtzee!" if you are lucky enough to do so!

Here is a complete list of the scoring options for the varying pots in Yahtzee:

  • 1's: add up all the ones.
  • 2's: add up all the twos.
  • 3's: add up all the threes.
  • 4's: add up all the fours.
  • 5's: add up all the fives.
  • 6's: add up all the sixes.
  • 3 of a Kind: reward 20 if there are 3 dice of the same value.
  • 4 of a Kind: reward 35 if there are 4 dice of the same value.
  • Full House: reward 25 if there are 3 of a kind and 2 of a kind.
  • Small Straight: reward 30 if there are 4 in a row.
  • Large Straight: reward 40 if there are 5 in a row.
  • Yahtzee!: reward 50 if all dice are of the same value.
  • Chance: add up all values.

Remember these simple tips that will put you directly on the fast track to winning:

  1. Go for your high point totals very early in the game. Things like getting 5 ones would obviously be better spent on a Yahtzee! than on having that many ones. You'd also be better off using this as a four or even three of a kind.
  2. It can be advantageous to take four of a kind in your upper half of your score deck if you roll 4's, 5's or 6's, because of the bonus you receive in the upper half if you score over 63 points.
  3. Go for your long straight if you roll a short straight right off the bat leaving one or six open. Your chances of rolling a 1 or 6 in your following two rolls are very high!
  4. Go for Yahtzees, but make sure you have the corresponding upper half pot left to still fall back on. Nothing would be worse than rolling four ones when you've already used your 1's and your four of a kind.
  5. Finally, the best pot on the board is your chance, hold onto it until the very last moment possible, because somewhere along the line you'll get a bad roll, and will need to put it somewhere that doesn't leave you completely broke.


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